- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - So much for the Minnesota Twins putting together a post-All-Star game spurt.

David Price pitched eight scoreless innings to win five straight starts for the first time in his major league career, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Twins 5-1 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Phil Hughes (10-6) allowed five runs and 11 hits in seven innings, matching the most hits against him this season. He is 3-4 with a 5.63 ERA in his last seven starts.

“We felt like we had a good road trip coming into the break, and then you want to start this thing on a positive note,” Hughes said. “To not do that is a little disappointing, but obviously there’s a lot of season left and a lot more games at home.”

Minnesota is 21-24 at Target Field and 23-28 on the road.

“Every series is key,” Trevor Plouffe, who had one of four Twins hits off Price. “We want to win series. Unfortunately we’re not going to win this one, we want to salvage the next game, go into the next series and try to win that.”

A night after the Rays opened the series with a 6-2 win, Price (10-7) walked none and struck out nine, raising his major league-leading total 173. Price has allowed three runs in 17 innings against the Twins this season, all on homers by Chris Collabello and Brian Dozier in one inning on April 22.

“We were talking about it before the game, regarding how well he’s been pitching this year and trying to compare it to his Cy Young Award-winning year,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said, referring to 2012. “I’m telling you, he’s right there right now.”

Minnesota turned five double plays, one shy of the Twins record.

“That really got me out of some jams, but just not enough,” Hughes said

Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the second on Jose Molina’s RBI single and Sean Rodriguez’s 10th home run of the season, a two-drive into the second deck in left. It was the 10th home this season off Hughes, who allowed 35 in 2012 and 24 last year.

The Rays made it 5-0 in the seventh on Molina’s RBI groundout and Rodriguez’s run-scoring single.

Minnesota scored in the ninth against Juan Carlos Oviedo on Kurt Suzuki’s one-out, RBI single.

Jake McGee got the final two outs for his eighth save in nine chances, completing a five-hitter.

NOTES: Twins 1B Joe Mauer took grounders before the game with coaches Joe Vavra and Paul Molitor. It was Mauer’s first baseball activity since he went on the 15-day DL on July 2 because of a strained right oblique. “He said there’s certain things he does right now that he still feels it, coughing and sneezing and things like that, definitely feels it, so he’s obviously not ready to take swings or any of that stuff,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. … Gardenhire gave a day off to OF Josh Willingham, who is 2 for 10 in his career against Price and batting .208 this season. “Willy’s fine, he’s healthy. He’s just missing his pitch right now.” … Ben Zobrist’s first-inning single off Hughes was his first hit against the former Yankees pitcher in 17 career at-bats. … Tampa Bay will try for a sweep on Sunday when it starts RHP Chris Archer (5-5), who is 2-0 and hasn’t allowed an earned run in two career starts against the Twins. Minnesota RHP Kevin Correia (5-11) is 1-2 over his last three starts despite opponents hitting .242 against him.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide